Te Akau Friday Update

Date: 17 May 2024

Te Akau Friday Update

David writes:

Gosh we have had a busy week at Te Akau Stud!

I don’t think we have ever had so many visitors in one week, many of course to inspect Imperatriz, with some of her owners also coming to say farewell one last time before she is sold on 28 May.

On Thursday we had a team visit from Sydney as you can see in the main picture. After a hearty farm breakfast, they had a farm tour of Te Akau Stud and then inspected the great mare.

In the photo with Imperatriz we have Adrian Bott, Henry Field, James Harron, Bruce Slade, Jim Clarke, Mitch Cunningham, Jim Carey, Reece Trumper and myself (not in that order)! Faith looking after Berri is doing a wonderful job with her.

I do think that Imperatriz is actually enjoying all the attention - she certainly was never ever camera shy in the past so she is in her element.

We enjoy welcoming visitors to the farm, and next week will be much of the same again. So, while we might be heading in to winter, the hectic pace of life does not stop. Normally at this time of the year, the racing at Te Akau is slowing down with winter almost upon us but we have had a terrific couple of weeks on the track.

Firstly how proud were we to see Discretion Rules claim his stakes' race at Riccarton for his delighted owners, some of whom were on course to celebrate in person. In winning, this 2YO became his sire Alabama Express' first ever stakes' winner.

Interestingly enough, Discretion Rules would have been maybe the second or third last horse to sell last year - unsure why as he was always a lovely individual but maybe people were not sure about a new sire? Anyway, no matter the rationale, his owners are over the moon - well done!

Discretion Rules brought up the team's 30th Group/Listed winner for the season - with 21 in New Zealand and nine in Australia - the team is absolutely flying.

Since then Mark, Ben and our Australian team have won races at the iconic Warrnambool Carnival with Leaderboard, our former Wellington Cup winner, while Midnight Blue and Savoir Faire both delivered super Caulfield wins over consecutive Saturdays.

In New Zealand, Mark, Sam and our team have had two doubles in the last 48 hours - with a winning double at the Cambridge meeting on Wednesday and then another winning double at Riccarton on Thursday - both on the synthetic. Not every horse will like that surface, but for those who do, this is a terrific time of the year!

In New Zealand alone, Sam Bergerson and Mark Walker have now trained 149 winners this season of which 21 are Black Type winners, as I mentioned. Congratulations to Sam - in his first season as a trainer, these statistics are unbelievable!

Te Akau has won 190 races this season (30 Group/Listed) when you include all our three stables.

As you can see from the New Zealand Trainers' Premiership table - it's another vintage year for Te Akau owners:

A massive thank you to the whole team at Cranbourne, Matamata and Te Akau Stud for all the hard work - what an amazing achievement.

To our owners too, a huge vote of thanks - we could not do this and achieve these results without your support and loyalty.

The good news in racing keeps coming in New Zealand - I was thrilled during the week to read about the new million dollar maiden series.

In an exciting new initiative, New Zealand Bloodstock and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, generously supported by Entain, will sponsor the Karaka Millions' Mega Maiden Series, which will see $1 million in bonuses available across 40 maiden races each season, for the next three years.

Comprised of 40 non-Saturday maiden races located throughout New Zealand, the bonus will be struck if a Karaka Millions' eligible horse, three years or older, wins.

The bonus of $20,000 (a bit like the Pearl Series) will be paid to the connections of the winner. As Te Akau's Karaka sale yearlings are always nominated for the Karaka Millions, there are some exciting times ahead for the horses that enter the new season ahead as a maiden.

Our yearlings are continuing to sell well, with the 'sold out' sign on more every week - remember if you are keen on a share, don't think you can get around to it later, as it may well be sold.

For example we have shares still available (surprisingly) in a stunning Hello Youmzain filly. Like Imperatriz, how her final shares haven't sold is a massive mystery to me - especially when you think her sire had his first winner from just his second runner in the northern hemisphere in the past week. Just watch his progeny fire up!

This filly has broken in in terrific fashion, Mark and Sam are very taken with her, so email Karyn now if you are keen to snap up one of the final shares - [email protected]

Speaking of Imperatriz, we were all super chuffed to learn overnight that she had been named 2024 Champion Racehorse by the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders' Association at its annual awards. That is some accolade, as the Hunter region of Australia breeds some of the best horses you would find anywhere in the world.

In winning, she outshone horses like the 2YO of the Year and Golden Slipper winner Lady Camelot, and three-time Group 1 winning 3YO Riff Rocket.

Her sire I Am Invincible was named 2024 Champion Sire for the third time!

The grass on the farm is about as good as it gets at the moment. We had 24mls of rain on Monday and another 24mls on Wednesday. I have never seen so much clover and all the stock are really thriving.

This week we weighed all the steers and have three mobs. They were all drenched and are now set stocked for winter.

It's a busy weekend ahead of racing again across New Zealand, Australia and Singapore - best of luck to all our owners with runners this weekend.

For the first time in years, Karyn and I will not be in Te Rapa. We are going to Mount Maunganui to help celebrate Garry Chittick’s milestone birthday - so from the whole tangerine team Garry - older and wiser, or older and bolder!!

Have a great weekend everyone and .... GO THE TANGERINE!

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